Mat KaplanMay 07, 2013

Saving the Planet can be Exciting!

The Asteroid Emergency Response Tabletop Exercise at the Planetary Defense Conference

What happens when you confront 200 asteroid and asteroid impact experts with a "real" and potentially devastating threat from space?  The Planetary Defense Conference gave attendees the opportunity to find out.  They were presented with an ultra-realistic scenario that put them in charge of collectively figuring out how to save the planet from a monster rock.

This week's Planetary Radio puts you in the middle of the action, and features conversations with notables including astronauts Ed Lu and Rusty Schweikart of the B612 Foundation, NASA Program Executive Lindley Johnson, Cathy Plesko of the Los Alamos National Lab, and Don Yeomans, head of the NASA Near Earth Object Program Office at JPL.  I had a blast jumping from one group to another in the Flagstaff, Arizona conference center, recording the sometimes heated discussions.  You can also see some of my photos of the Conference on our Flickr page. 

Wait!  There's more!  Bruce Betts and I welcome Mike Puzio and his father as our special What's Up guests.  Mike is the nine-year-old winner of our contest to name the asteroid that will be visited by the OSIRIS rEX sample return spacecraft in 2018.  It's a delightful conversation.  You don't need to name an asteroid to enter this week's space trivia contest.  It's an easy question that might win you Bill Nye's voice on your answering system.  Good luck!

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